In 1982 the Design and Exhibits staff at the Dallas Public Library put on an exhibit titled "Their Indelible Mark: Rubber Stamps and Libraries". Jonathan Held who served as curator of the exhibit wrote about it in the December 1982 issue of American Libraries. After the idea for the exhibit of library rubber stamps was conceived, the staff of the Dallas Public Library issued a call to the library community to send them rubber stamps no longer in use. As a result they received a phenomenal collection of 5,000 rubber stamps from 37 states, Canada, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. The staff selected 821 for their 6 week exhibit. Held indicated that for the most part the stamps revealed the different tasks library workers perform, patterns of library service, and ways information is categorized and disseminated. Some were more unusual, however. One included the following message:
THIS MATERIAL WAS PRINTED BEHIND THE IRON CURTAIN; THEREFORE, THE PHILOSOPHY EXPRESSED MAY NOT BE CONSISTENT WITH THAT OF WESTERN CIVILIZATION
Another one had this message:
THE PASSAGE OF THE JARVIS/GANN AMENDMENT RESULTS IN NO FUNDING FOR THE LIBRARY, AT LEAST TEMPORARILY. YOUR REQUEST CANNOT BE FILLED. SORRY.
Held ends his article which includes numerous illustrations of stamp messages with this comment: "It appears that rubber stamps may be among the first casualties of the Information Revolution, and that another facet of Americana may vanish. But they have served to remind us of how often clues to the essential nature of things are found in the most commonplace artifacts of daily life." This is why we as a library community should seek to preserve such artifacts. I was the fortunate recipient of a collection of these rubber stamps which were being deaccessioned by a library. A photo of my collection is shown below.